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Epidemic Epistle: A Triage Crisis is Coming, and This Time It's Personal

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I'm sitting here self-quarantined with my family in our 1738 stone farmhouse just north of Philadelphia. It's an ancient building that I'm sure has known its share of epidemics over the centuries, including typhus and the deadly 1918 Spanish Flu.

Right now I'm thinking about hospital triage.

According to the New York Times, hospitals in Seattle, one of two hot spots in the US Coronavirus Pandemic with 2221 confirmed cases and 110 deaths statewide, are seriously planning for how to decide which patients suffering from the often fatal Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome complication associated with the disease will get one of the limited number of ventilators available, and which ones will be left to fend for themselves and probably not survive. They want to develop a set or guidelines, so doctors won't have to make personal decisions in the moment and be overburdened with guilt afterwards whichever option they chose.

In Italy, the country with the highest number of deaths so far from the COVID-19 virus (over 5000 and rising rapidly), these terrible decisions have already been made many times over in hospitals that are swamped with critical patients. We'll be facing them in city after city in no time here in the US, which is far less prepared for this pandemic than was Italy with its universal health care system, far greater number of beds per 1000 people, better physician staffing and ready supply of coronavirus test kits.

In the US, thanks to President Trump's having ignored the looming pandemic for months, even referring to it as a "Democrat hoax" or "Chinese hoax" and to his having eliminated the pandemic warning unit at the Centers for Disease Control and the Pandemic specialist on his National Security Council, there was no effort as recently as early March to order mass quantities of virus test kits. As a result, US health experts and pandemic planners have been flying blind in this crisis, not knowing who is infected and who is not, or even how many are infected in any locale.

That's why we have to hole up in quarantined family units, not even knowing if one of us may be contagious and a threat the rest of the household.

And now we're about to see our hospitals across the country begin to be overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, many of whom will need ventilators to survive the pneumonia and lung damage that will occur as their bodies succumb to the viral attack on their lungs.

The triage process will be fairly straight-forward. When ventilators are in short supply doctors will be instructed by policy to give them to those who have a good chance of survival with the machines. Those who have a lower probability of surviving with the help of a ventilator, which will mean the old, the frail, and those with underlying health issues like congestive heart failure, lungs damaged from years of smoking, or other lung problems like pulmonary sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease which can make any respiratory infection develop into pneumonia, may not.

That's where it gets personal. I am 70 years old, which puts me right away into a category of people with a higher (8%) risk of dying of coronavirus. I'm healthy and fit, but I also have pulmonary sarcoidosis. The condition has been in remission for years, but I know from prior experience, if I get this virus, it's more than likely to become active again and to put me at risk of ARDS, and to require a ventilator.

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)
 

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10 people are discussing this page, with 23 comments  Post Comment


Dave Lindorff

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The idea that Trump is refusing to use the Stafford Act to order companies to start rapidly making ventilators for hospitals, and that companies that make and sell these expensive machines are allowing wealthy individuals to buy them for their personal use when they could be saving dozens of lives, it disgusting.

Dave Lindorff, founding editor of ThisCantBeHappening.net

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 at 3:44:06 PM

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Chuck Nafziger

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The US can be trusted to use this pandemic to further crush the middle class and poor while showering money on the 1%. I believe they will control this crisis to drag it out as long as they can and use the time to shift as much money as they can, push in draconian martial control, and ask for praise once the disease passes through on its own.

I am 75, I smoked for twenty younger years, worked in criminally smokey non-union shipyards and sucked in clouds of loose asbestos. But now I am in great health with a robust immune system. I want to get the virus and get it over. My chances of getting nailed are real and I accept them, but if I don't get it now, I might get it next fall when corona V is predicted to surge through again after slowing down during the summer. My health may not be as good then.

I keep seeing mentions that 40-80% of the population has to get this and recover before it quits causing chaos. The mental and economic costs of isolation will cause way more deaths, and not just oldies, than this disease will cause, even if left unchecked. Harsh, but pretty much inescapable. The at risk people have to hole up until this is no longer raging through the general population. Please weigh those factors when accepting the martial law edicts coming our way and treat people who get the disease and recover as heros because they are the ones who will stop this. Not our corrupt government and the corporate run CDC.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 at 5:32:22 PM

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Dave Lindorff

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Reply to Chuck Nafziger:   New Content

Before you go out and get yourself infected on purpose, you need to know -- which nobody does know at this point -- whether having the disease will actually confer immunity for any length of time. Only fake news site and politicians are pushing the story that you get immunity by going through the disease at this point. Better wait a bit, before you play American Roulette with your 75-year-old body.

Dave Lindorff

founding editor of ThisCantBeHappening.net

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 at 8:38:00 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Reply to Dave Lindorff:   New Content

Yep, good advice, Dave. The UK and Germany were pushing the "herd immunity" concept, ehich figures as they represent the pinnacle of neoliberalism and militarism. Choosing that path to defeat COVID is the one that will create the greatest profits for the ruling cliques and carries the least regard for its citizenry...especially as their is - as you say correctly - no guarantee infection corresponds with future immunity. See here for the TWO APPROACHES to COVID containment:

PS If you can't read Italian, you can use Google Translator for a pretty accurate translation. The article is well worth it and contrasts how the Chineses, South Koreans and Italians approach COVID versus the Germans, and English.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 at 9:10:40 PM

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Chuck Nafziger

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Reply to Dave Lindorff:   New Content

I have looked at the numbers and predictions. This pandemic is following the mathematical model for "epidemics" where immunities are formed. If this gets dragged out too much, immunities will be injected into us using Gates created GMO involved, minimally tested, zero corporate liability, vaccines. The percentages of people needed to get this virus to have it abate, coming from the doctor for congress and the supreme court (25 to 40%), are lower than those coming from the NY Governor (50(?)to 80%), I remember 40 to 60%. The numbers vary with the "force" of infection and other variables, but numbers from the federal doctor look low. I fear that the difference will be made up of those getting required vaccinations. That is the second way to get the percentages of "Recovered" up high enough to stop the pandemic.

However, the panic has its own model which more follows the model describing feel lot cattle. That model leads GMO corn fed cattle into the feed lot to be scanned, tagged, confined and made to watch the panic in the other animals eyes [on a screen] all their waking hours, deprived of herd interactions, stuffed with more GMO corn until they are obese and sickly, pumped full of vaccines and antibiotics, and then harvested [of their wallets].

I hope the CDC will hire someone like Temple Grandin who might be able to make this easier on us. Even if the best happens we are going to take a big hit. The virus will be a small and minor part. The new 9-11 for taking liberties.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 at 9:32:03 PM

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Chuck Nafziger

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Reply to Dave Lindorff:   New Content

The numbers I quoted show that this fits perfectly into the mathematical models for epidemics that lead to immunity. I just got back from walking with my goats. They did not contradict any of my arguments. But the one sided discussion gave me a great realization!

This flu is not much worse than any other. There is a massive psyops campaign going on to make this look bad. In Japan, they are basically letting it go and seeing not a blip in death statistics. I think the Russians are doing the same with some cosmetic moves. The deaths from this virus slide into the normal death pattern for sick old people, but can the warped and twisted to make anyone with the virus who is run over by a bus be included in the people who die from the virus. It is basically tying the virus to any old or very sick person who is dying and then blaming the virus for the death. Very clever. The psyops campaign is multi national. I think you can find the major players by looking at "Event 201" where a coronavirus was gamed by John Hopkins University, The Gates Foundation, banking and investment interests, the Chinese CDC and the US CDC among others.

Read it here! Special Announcement!

This is the new "MEDICAL 9-11." It is ushering in the new WAR ON PANDEMICS. We will be required to give up much freedom, conned into begging for vaccinations made by companies with no liability and with rumored ties to eugenics like the Gates funded GMO labs. Our movements and gatherings will be monitored, restricted and disrupted--with our permission. Poverty will skyrocket. I hate to be right on this one because it promises a lot of misery for a lot of people falling for a clever and well coordinated medical false flag. Please be careful of becoming one of the psyops megaphones. This is a phony crisis.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 at 11:19:11 PM

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Helen Carpenter

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Reply to Chuck Nafziger:   New Content

I pretty much thought this whole Covid thing could be a psyop, and would have believed they put out this BS report - except I know this family:

.ksdk.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/5-members-st-louis-family-diagnosed-coronavirus/63-8b2fb0a9-c3b4-4f00-9f2a-123990643764

Know of one other person who just recently became instantly sick and was refused testing. Also intriguing is the story of a friend's son. He lives in Atlanta and had a flu back in mid-January which left him with a lingering dry cough for weeks. He now is complaining about having reduced lung function. Sound familiar? Others online are matching up their winter 'flu' with these symptoms. Someone wrote about a convention he attended in January in Las Vegas and most of his group developed a flu with the same dry cough and some with lingering lung problems.

Which brings this back to having an obvious footprint of a psyop. Your last paragraph is spot on, Chuck - we're not waking up from this nightmare, it's just beginning. Unfortunately, perhaps the psyop doesn't exclude the fact this is a real pandemic:

https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2020/03/24/21-million-chinese-cellphone-users-disappear-in-three-months-of-pandemic/

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2020 at 8:40:54 AM

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Helen Carpenter

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Reply to Helen Carpenter:   New Content

In regards to the great number of Chinese whose cellphone no longer function, my husband believes these people no longer wish to be tracked and have simply removed the battery.

The current death rate in France is doubling every 2.5 days. My husband calculated at this rate, France will have a million deaths in 25 days and in 50 days, one billion.

The exponential curve can't go up like this forever.

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2020 at 10:34:26 AM

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Chuck Nafziger

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Reply to Helen Carpenter:   New Content

This is a pretty average flu, supplying the key for folks knocking on Death's Door.

Check out these expert opinions.

Submitted on Thursday, Mar 26, 2020 at 5:51:08 AM

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Helen Carpenter

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Reply to Chuck Nafziger:   New Content

Actually, most people would consider this article OTT, but I don't think it is:

http://stateofthenation.co/?p=9375

Look at the push to covertly wire schools across the nation for 5G - this should put to rest any notion the authorities have our best interests in mind.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/During-Shutdown-5G-Being-I-by-Beverly-Jensen-Absence_Dept-Of-Education-ED-gov_Education_Educational-Facilities-200322-906.html

Submitted on Thursday, Mar 26, 2020 at 12:28:42 PM

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Walt Gelles

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Trump is not fit---mentally or morally---to handle this crisis. He should resign or else Mike Pence should invoke Article 25 to remove him from office. The best piece on this subject is at The Intercept: "Dear Vice President Mike Pence: Please Use the 25th Amendment to Remove Trump and Save Us From the Coronavirus" click here This is not likely to happen, of course, but the article should be widely circulated, even published on OpEdNews.

US Centers for Disease Control epidemiologist Dr. Linda Quick was embedded in China's disease control agency in Beijing. Her job was detecting disease outbreaks in China and training Chinese field epidemiologists to detect, treat and contain such outbreaks. Trump eliminated that position and other key posts as well. Does Doctor Trump have some kind of death-wish against America? His monstrous narcissism, glaring incompetence, wilful ignorance, constant lies, inability to lead, and being out-of-touch with reality will cost America dearly in lives lost.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 at 7:27:46 PM

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John Zwiebel

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Reply to Walt Gelles:   New Content

Trump did not eliminate those positions all on his own. He could hardly even know they existed. Who brought them to his attention? Once we know that we may have a better understanding of the nature of this pandemic.

I like Tom Hanks, but how come he isn't dead? What kind of attention did he receive that won't be available to the "rest of us"? He may not have even known.

Let's make a "wild-ass assumption" and consider that there might actually be two versions of the virus which present the same in the tests that Trump has developed. Hanks got the one that he easily recovers from luring us all into a false sense of security so that when we go out into the community and are infected with the more virulent strain -- we die.

Conspiracy theory? Of course. But then perhaps you haven' t noticed all the conspiracies swirling around us.

Now, may I ask you to contribute to Shahid Buttar? He has a chance of beating Pelosi. If we don't get rid of her, I'll leave the results up to your imagination.

#Demexit

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 at 8:31:40 PM

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Dave Lindorff

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Reply to John Zwiebel:   New Content

The reason Tom Hanks isn't dead is that he has good health care access and because he's basically health so even with no health care his odds as a 63 year old of dying of this disease are 3.8%. He was in the 96.2% who do okay.

Luck and money were on his side.

Plus he's a nice guy, I hear.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 at 8:41:28 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Reply to Dave Lindorff:   New Content

Nice, maybe. But if he is probably nice, then he is proabably stupid/naive for pushing Exceptionalism at every chance he gets.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 at 8:57:56 PM

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Reply to Walt Gelles:   New Content

Gaah! President Pence? Seriously?

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2020 at 3:18:46 AM

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Italy isn't representative of other countries. See actual data and unanswered questions, from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. (page) An article in the UK Spectator comparing Germany's far lower death rate to Italy's is also instructive. It says the amount and nature of testing has a significant effect on reported rates, and Italy's median age of those testing positive is 63.

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2020 at 4:50:12 AM

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John Rachel

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The math is clear. The next 3 to 6 months will be a living Hell in the U.S. because of the negligence of our elected officials. As Dave has so perfectly described the situation he's in given the facts on the ground, we can see on a personal level what will be driving the mortality rates as this nightmare unfolds.

Continue your isolation, Dave. Be safe. Stay healthy. There's no fall-back position.

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2020 at 11:29:02 AM

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Dave Lindorff

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Reply to John Rachel:   New Content

Thanks John! Fortunately I have a wife who is far more risk-averse than yours truly. She has on several occasions already prevented me from doing stuff outside of quarantine -- sometimes reportorial outings and sometimes just wanting to go get some milk for my goddam coffeee -- by reading me the riot act, probably saving me from getting the virus. I'm stuck in the house. Fortunately the weather's warming so I can spend a lot of time getting a garden growing. Probably a good idea for everyone because as this thing spreads further, the supply chain for food deliveries is going to start to lose critical links. Not much grown in the US Northeast, for example. It all gets trucked in even though the Northeast used to be a huge farming region.

Dave Lindorff

founding editor of ThisCantBeHappening.net

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2020 at 1:18:51 PM

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I hope that Dave doesn't think of sittin down on the job , if he's too close to Maine, He might sit on a whoopie cushion right on top of a big IED. Hi to Mitsuma this lovely day and her dearly beloved.

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2020 at 3:10:35 PM

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Your point on ventilator triage hit home. My dad is in a South Florida hospital with pneumonia and sepsis, which he apparently contracted at the hospital. He is also a heart patient.

Lenny, 91, tested negative for Covid-19 twice. The second test was done because my father is elderly and in critical condition; doctors wanted to make sure the first test was not a false negative.

On Monday, a social worker called me to ask what I want to do if the hospital "releases" my father. Should he come home or go to a rehab center? I said I needed more information. However, based on what I know, I said it is his wish and mine that he comes home when the hospital releases him.

A day later, I got more alarming news about how my father is doing. So, I guess I'm cynical now. Was the social worker hoping I would approve sending my dad to a rehab center so he could be moved and free up a ventilator and bed for a younger person?

The hospital and their employees have many loyalties -- some of which may not be to the patient and the family.

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2020 at 2:06:08 PM

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Dave Lindorff

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Reply to Steve Schneider:   New Content

Our experience with social workers at hospitals, both with my father and my wife's parents has been that they are lying pieces of s**t. You need to speak with your father's physician, who is likely to be the most honest with you (but no guarantees).

I'd also say that you need to be ready to let go too, if the word is that your did, with all his conditions, is not going to make it at some point. Pneumonia is, I've learned from experience, not the worst way to go out. While for young people, pneumonia when it gets bad can be like drowning, for old people it tends to be a gentle gradual reduction in oxygenation of the blood, but no real gasping for breath and resulting panic. Also, low doses or oral morphine can ease the breathing.

Good luck and my sympathies.

Dave Lindorff

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2020 at 4:03:46 PM

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Steve Schneider

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Reply to Dave Lindorff:   New Content

Speaking with the doc worked. We spoke twice today. I felt he gave me specific and honest information. Details aren't important, but my dad is improving, at least for now.

Thanks for the suggestion, Dave.

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2020 at 9:33:00 PM

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Helen Carpenter

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"Genius" Doctor Turns One Ventilator Into Nine Using DIY Tips From YouTube Video

https://themindunleashed.com/2020/03/genius-doctor-turns-one-ventilator-into-nine-using-diy-tips-from-youtube-video.html

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2020 at 2:36:12 PM

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